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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  March 3, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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council would support us. >> one more on ray davis. do you have any information that he traveled into the country under a fake passport? is that possibly why pakistan is not accepting his diplomatic immunity? >> i don't think that's the reason. to more and then we will wrap it up. >> the attack in germany yesterday and whether you consider that a terror attack. >> the investigation is ongoing. >> it seems pretty clear based on the evidence of public evidence at this point that it was perpetrated by an individual -- why is it not a terrorist attack? >> obviously we are looking into the individual who shot our servicemembers. we are looking into his relationship with others. i don't know that we have made a judgment yet on whether it was someone acting alone or somebody acting in concert with others. >> was it a terrorist attack? i can understand why you can't make that clear.
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>> well i mean, for example was the shooting of congresswoman gabby giffords a terrorist attack? i mean -- you have to look at the -- you have to look at the evidence and look at the motivation and then you make a judgment and that is the process as far as i know that is ongoing. okay, good deal. we should pay tribute to jeni stopped in the back. she will be leaving us tomorrow. ..
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with u.s. comptroller general jean dodaro. it pinpointed 34 areas from defense and job training to social services and safety for federal agencies have redundant programs. this is two hours and ten minutes. >> good morning. the committee meeting will come to order. >> as is the new tradition of this committee, we will begin by reading the oversight mission statement. we exist to secure to fundamental principles. first, americans have a right to know their money washington spends and takes is well spent
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and second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the oversight and government reform committee is to protect these rights. our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to tax payers because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. we will work tigers tirelessly with citizen watchdogs to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. this is the mission of the oversight and government reform committee to read today's hearing is the second time this committee has met in two weeks to consider the effect of wasteful spending have on the federal government, the economy and the taxpayers. this week's gao report exposes serious government breakdowns in effective and efficient use of taxpayers' dollars by
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conservative estimates the duplication and fragmentation highlighted the gao report represents over 100 billion in annual losses. yet there was great consternation and 90 hours of hard debate in order to propose $62 billion in cuts the gao report, unlike the cuts, is not about eliminating services. it's about standardizing, combining and eliminating duplicative services that cost the american people money without serving an additional use, meaning if we cut the bureaucracy, if we cut so many of these programs that repeat each of them having high paid and a high-ranking individuals and i.t. groups and separate publishing and if you will
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advertising campaigns, we can even in the cost without the american people suffering one loss of the essentials service is believed to be done by these programs. i'm sure in future times we will have additional hearings on programs that should simply go away with it is one or 100 within government. but today we are going to meet with 33 talented and very educated individuals who are going to help us understand should be a win-win for the american people. when when because we aren't talking about cuts, we are talking about cuts in bureaucracy, cuts in bureaucracy of money while delivering a better product to the taxpayers. with that i would like to yield the remainder of my time to the gentleman from florida for his comments. >> thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate hearing today and i look forward to hearing from our
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witnesses. something strikes me as odd, and that is we've heard the president say over and over again, and let me just quote he's going to conduct an exhaustive line by line review of the federal budget and seek to eliminate government programs that are not performing. well, that's something we can all agree with and we seemed no action on the president's words. we have a hearing today where we invite the director of omb, which is a presidential appointee and he refuses to show of. so is the president serious about doing a line by line review? is the director of the omb is he trying to hide the questions? it's outrageous that we find ourselves at a hearing we have the opportunity to do something good for the american people, and that is cut spending and cut this budget and get rid of
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waste. mr. chairman, you talked up the duplication and the $100 billion the director of omb won't show up to give us an opportunity to ask questions and find out what we can do to cut this $100 billion to find another hundred billion dollars to cut to try to bring this budget in line? i think it's outrageous that the director doesn't show up. i think issues in this regard to the legislative branch and the separation of powers. it says to me that the administration and the director of omb is more interested in talking a good game now in the public but doesn't really want to get to the hard work. so, mr. chairman, i look forward to this panel. i look forward to your leadership but i am extremely disappointed the director didn't show up and by not sure this
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administration is serious about cutting spending if they can't even send the director. i thank the director and reclaiming my time. >> our invitation to the office of management but will remain open. i now recognize the distinguished ranking member for his opening. >> thank you mr. chairman and for calling this hearing today. i just want to go immediately to what the congressman just said. i don't think the president is hiding or the omb is hiding anything. the fact is the president in his state of the union made it clear he is about the business of addressing these issues and omb is carrying in the process of conducting his own analysis of effective ways of streamlining the government services and to cut unnecessary cost. this is critical to ensure federal programs are working as effectively as possible and that is why i signed a letter with the chairman requesting from going updates as a when the tax
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on this monumental task as my understanding the water will be going out and as soon as we get the signatures up to senator collins and lieberman might think it is, but i want to make it clear, and i do believe that again, one of the things about this chairman i know he likes to do things effectively and efficiently, so i would think that omb there will come a time they will appear before us and we will be in the best position to provide some testimony would be helpful. now, mr. chairman, it is certainly good to see all of our witnesses here today. to truman davis it is a pleasure to see you again. your name has been evoked quite favorably around here and so it's good to see you. and mr. de alexander it's good to see you again. today we will hear the results of a report issued by the government accountability office on duplicative programs and
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major opportunities to enhance federal revenues. first, the gao report demonstrates there are real opportunities to streamline federal programs come save taxpayers' dollars and deliver services more effectively and efficiently. flexible, gao identified at least 31 entities within the defense department is supposed to address the urgent needs of war fighters. the gao reported there are challenges with the department's fragmented guidance and raised concern about the numbers and the rules of the various entities involved. solving these problems will take a vacation, by partisanship but it will help both american troops and taxpayers. the gao report also describes numerous areas where we can recover hundreds of billions of dollars of federal revenues. for example, ga0 highlights the united states is essentially giving away up to $53 billion to
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all companies that are not paying royalties on certain leases to extract oil and gas from federal lands. that is our money. a lot has been said about the tax payers said during the last election. one of the things these it is they don't want to be cheated of their own money. congress passed legislation in 95 to give oil companies so-called relief. the goal of the legislation is to encourage production by exempting the companies by paying royalties to the federal government. the legislation was supposed to require governments to start paying royalties when they recoup their investment and began making a profit. but the legislation was poorly drafted and when the companies to alleged in court the successfully avoided paying any royalties at all. in its report the gao reported it could result in $21 billion in lost revenue to the federal government. this is going to an industry that is making staggering process despite the worst
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economic downturn since the great depression. mr. chairman, you need significant work, we need to do sycophant work on this, and you have to be you've been a leader in this area and as a matter of fact in 2009 you issued a report about what would happen if these companies on their lawsuit. any company that entered a similar lease between 1996 and 2000 could be skipped paying royalties. that is when you said. you also said the fifth circuit decision may force the federal government to reimburse companies who have already attended royalty payments. depending upon the market price of oil and natural gas the total cost of the for all royalties totaled nearly $80 billion, and of quote. mr. chairman, you warned about this problem and i commend you, i really do. but now we need to fix it. and it's coming to take a bipartisan effort. we just had a vote in the house where we had an opportunity to fix it, and we were not able to. and so, i think as mr. davis has
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said many times, this is one where we can come together as democrats and republicans. it is a win-win situation, but it's not a win just for republicans, not just for democrat, but most importantly it is a win for the american people and i don't just want to be sitting here ten years from now saying the same things having lost even more money so i look forward to the hearing mr. chairman and i think you. with that, i yield back. >> i thank the ranking member and all members will have seven legislative days to submit their opening statements for the record. i now go to the distinguished panel. the honorable thomas davis iii. former chairman of this committee as the ranking member said he looks down on us every day. now the director of the federal government affairs and the man who issued the subpoena to the
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oil companies on my behalf in order to begin the process of doing the oversight on the flawed contracts that would cost the american people tens of billions of dollars and i want to thank you for that today publicly. the honorable gene dodaro as the comptroller of the united states appearing for writing the second time as the confirmed comptroller versus the many times that you appear before us graciously as the acting. your work as a legislative branch employees spanning both the executive and the legislative branch providing more than 3,000 people who give us the nonpartisan reports and fact-finding that we absolutely rely on. and mr. ryan alexander, president of the taxpayers for common sense and often contributor. welcome back. pursuant to the committee's rules all witnesses are asked to be sworn in before they testify before this committee. if you please raise your right hands. do you solemnly swear or affirm
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the the testimony you are about to give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but truth? let the record reflect all witnesses have answered in the affirmative. thank you. please, be seated. in order to allow time for discussion, and as my predecessor would say a longstanding tradition is that you will have five minutes, there will be a green light for as long as you may talk freely, there will be a yellow light to warn you your time is elapsing, and i will be understanding for you to complete your sentence, but not much more once it turns red, and that will allow a healthy dialogue afterwards. the chair recognizes mr. davis for his opening statement. >> thank you chairman issa and colleagues. thanks for the opportunity to testify for you today and i'm doing so in my capacity as the
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former member of the house and specifically chairman of the committee and i want to thank gene dodaro for putting together an outstanding report on the basis of today's hearing. i'm hoping we can engage a wendi before the system because we are in this, democrats, republicans, the house, senate, exit to this branch. we all cause the problem, and i think we need to be there to solve it as we look forward to this and at this point they are not here today in the future we need to make sure they are engaged and doing some things we need to hear about. >> during my tenure i examine how the government could operate more efficiently, focusing on the government issues, procurement, i.t. policies possible service, government organizations. in this process of one said the weaker to extract savings from the federal government is to simply cut off fingers and toes rather than the one after the fact that smolder throughout the body politics. as we see in the gao report issued earlier this week
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sometimes uncle sam does indeed have too many digits in some surgery may well be in order. so where does the blame on? as i noted there's plenty of blame to go around. a lot of places to point the finger and let me start with congress. duplicative and overlapping programs frequently exist because the way that we in congress legislate. indeed one of the earliest enduring lessons i learned, the election of the house was the jurisdiction trumps all. while different members believe there may be need for a given federal service it will surely right the authorizing legislation for their individual committees in mind. for example if a member of the education work force committee wants to enact a job-training program they will write the legislation to ensure it falls under an agency that committee's purview. this thing would be true of a member of the veterans administration. the financial services might like job training to low-income people in such a program to cut. john transnet of three different agencies. under this arrangement there off
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a bit differently, measured differently and administered differently. common sense suggests they should be combined to get the economies of scale or to make it easier for the citizens to know where the programs exist. we can blame the bureaucracy in many ways congress created the monster we bemoan and attempt to protect the larger risk products. another plant that should be examined in the quest to crawl duplicative or overlapping programs or to implement broad personnel reforms we need to implement government wide solutions as often discussed. but while the executive branch has the ability to affect such efforts to a certain degree the compartmentalization approach that congress takes often prevents the type of all listed action required. this is especially true of the appropriations process in which all the subcommittees would have to every for an initiative a task we can't ask to take a back. finally on necessary
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ramifications of the state and local levels congress should examine the marion reporting requirements of the federal programs, human service programs, educational programs and transportation programs to see where we can make better use of consolidated systems. with existing technology it seems unnecessary to have every statement in its own reporting system for if a given program essentially the same information is required from everybody. government-wide and the executive branch culture exists. too many agencies have pipes for the delivery services, personal rules and internal protocols. the result is the seamless communications and information sharing our rear between the government departments. information gets lost, analysis becomes disjointed and offered ability becomes and it is an effective catalyst for establishing cooperation and communication between agencies which could in turn lead to an exponential increase in efficiency. had the authority of the mandate to do so.
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unfortunately the administrations of both parties the office of management and budget said the becomes the office of budget. the concentration calls on the budgetary aspects of the agency's and a management review to deal with much more long term savings. the key to success is focusing how the services are delivered and how the services are procuring and how the information is gathered and analyzed the zearing is the executive branch seems to be deficient. the a solutions of the redundant programs are not government skill sets. it often tends to reorganize afforded by inadequate time constraints, unwilling employee participants in the federal managers to know that a slow roll or weighted approach will trump the most ambitious change efforts. what did congress do and omb to avoid the situation? from the congressional standpoint it completely structures the committee system is unlikely. a first step to avoiding the program duplication and efficiency might be a cbo review of newly proposed programs for consideration. in closing there are good dedicated people working in
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government but upon examination of how the employees some of them are doing tasks they don't need to be doing under the regulations that didn't need to be written. today's hearing marks the start of an effort and a sustained effort to address these issues. again, i appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts and look for to questions and ask that my statement put in the record. >> members of the committee, i am very pleased to be here today to talk about the gao report which outlines opportunities to tackle overlap and duplication, reduce cost and enhanced revenue collections. the report discusses 34 different areas of overlap and duplication and fragmentation and it out lines a number of specific activities that need to be reviewed. i will highlight a couple categories this morning.
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one, there are multiple programs and specific areas that have developed over the years and that need to be tackled pittard for example there are over 40 programs and employment and training areas. there are over 80 programs trying at least in part to improve teacher quality. there are 80 programs intended to improve economic development. surface transportation has a multiple program as well. these programs have developed over the years and in some cases decades and in many cases there is really not a lot of empirical evidence to show the outcomes of the programs or that they are operating effectively. this is a perfect opportunity for the congress and the administration to look at these portfolio programs that we outlined in our reports and to begin to rationalize the programs, prioritize what the role of the federal government should be, and to give clear
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directions as to what is to be accomplished through the programs on how to measure the results and how to streamline the delivery systems and also reduce administrative costs. i think there's a lot of opportunities here. we also outlined in the defense area opportunities there and medical commands comer urgent needs as was mentioned in the opening comments and there are other areas where the dod can leverage the purchasing power for example and purchasing of drugs and also pursuing a parallel paths and developing electronic medical records and there are opportunities to conserve and resources and get better results for less cost we believe. in addition to the over less fragmentation of the duplication we also outlined a number of opportunities for cost savings and enhance revenues 47 areas
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are outlined in the reaper. many of the opportunities go to the nuts and bolts of the government and how it operates. germany was outlined as the need to make sure there's more competition in contracting the there are fewer contract in people's to reduce the cost and we are paying to maintain an unneeded federal property and we are paying through improper payments for services that either aren't rendered or are not well documented, that we have confidence that they are being saved or appropriately paid. and in the revenue area there is a gap at the tax level between texas at the collective $290 billion there are areas the we believe through prudent use of increasing the electronic filing using third-party data to
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identify potential non-followers and other activities that need to be looked at. now, one of the things we are going to continue to do since this report is the first report that meets our statutory requirement to annually produce these reports we will be looking at other opportunities going forward. tax expenditures, flexible, and how they might duplicate other things for the simple in this report we mentioned the tax credit in the at the mall area, duplication, the renewable fuel standards that are in place and that congress should take a look at the need to continue this ethanol tax credit which is billions of dollars a year a foregone revenue. there is overlap between the tax credits, loan programs and other federal spending so we will be looking at these areas in the future, and we already have work underway for the next year's report and we look forward to working with the congress to help streamline the federal
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government activities to make sure that its operating more effectively, more efficiently, and then tax payers best interest. so mr. chairman, that concludes my opening statement. i would be happy to answer questions at the appropriate time. >> thank you. the gentleman yields back 14 seconds. [laughter] >> ms. alexander, please. >> good morning, trice, a ranking member cummings and members of the committee, think you for inviting me to testify today. our mission for common sense is to achieve a government that spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and operates within its means. all of our work reflects the belief that no one, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum wants to see their money wasted. to that end we have worked with the left and right to achieve the victories on stopping the bridge to nowhere, getting the car-mart moratorium enacted, cutting funding for an alternate engine for the joint strike fighter and creating an inspector general for the iraq war. we testified before the committee several times with proven results for american taxpayers. we test for the cost overrun
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problems the of 22 rafters and the program was stopped. when mr. davis was on that night would testify on crop insurance, based printing the agricultural committee to take action and working with you, churn and i said, we testified on the army corps of engineers issues and the committee regarding lost royalty revenues from offshore oil and gas both of which are in the gao report we are discussing today. in addition to might as the money i would like to enter the record the detailed recommended budget cuts. in the more than 15 year history, we've worked on many of the programs and issues highlighted in the gao report. we hope to increased scrutiny generated by the report, the current political will to tame the deficit and good work the committee will need to meaningful elimination of many of these programs. obviously there is much too much to tackle in this report in five minutes or even 50, i will just highlight a few issues. across the government gao found samples of duplication. reference to the acquisition process the from and why it could yield significant savings. this is particularly true in the pentagon for the rest of duplication across the surface as our high.
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evers requirement weapons like the eagles should be coordinated across the services, encouraging competition in the interagency contracting to help drive down cost by as much as 500 billion by the gao estimate and has mr. dodaro mentioned courtenay and from the dod and electronic of record systems for the purchasing. they also have enormous possible savings but from disposing of billions of dollars worth of unnecessary federal property, but perfect vehicle management and better cost analysis of purchasing and leasing decisions. in addition to opportunities to reduce spending the gao report highlighted ways to enhance revenue, another critical element of reducing the deficit. give away the state oil and gas industry to the royalty management and collection systems have been highlighted by the report, gao numerous times and added to the high risk list this year. chairman as you know all too well from your work on these problems, the result of the royalty relief in the mid-1990s to oil and gas companies operating in the gulf of mexico problems stemming from the
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relief act including a portfolio of these holders to pay no royalties for oil and gas from the federal waters will cost taxpayers three and a 50 billion in the next five years. the gao report notes almost 1 trillion federal revenues forgone in fiscal year 2009 due to the tax expenditures but the commission called tax earmarks. the 173 tax expenditures are similar to spending programs that can be the same magnitude or larger than related federal spending exit without the oversight. we believe this is an area this committee could play a critical role on increasing accountability, examining effectiveness and saving taxpayers' dollars. in the recent report the gao says reductions of revenue losses from eliminating in effect and text could be substantial. tax expenditure performance is in every it would benefit from the congressional scrutiny as the congress considers ways to address the long-term fiscal the balance. last year forcible the gao recommended congress modify the research tax credit to reduce wind falls for the taxpayers research spending they would have done any way and this
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report suggests changes to the tax credit as well as reviewing the toxics and status of bonds. these text extenders for effectiveness and fallujah and eliminating the largest corporate tax loopholes would pave the way for the corporate tax structure learning over all breeds and establishing an important level of different business communities. other tax expenditures such as the mortgage interest deduction or deductions for the sales tax shall also be considered. reforming federal law activities related to the corn ethanol would be a double whammy eliminating redundant programs and enhancing revenue. the use of ethanol is mandated, protected from foreign competition and subsidized. any one of these redundant market distorting policy options might be proposed to help emerging industry that is indefensible but the mature corn ethanol industry continues to benefit from the decades of responsible tax credit to blend ethanol at a cost of the taxpayers more than 5 billion per year. clearly the gao has given the congress ought to think about coming eliminating duplication and waste of government and revenue are the critical first step to addressing the
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$1.65 trillion budget deficit. >> i thank the gentlelady. you feel it back 18 seconds. this is probably a record for any committee. i now yield myself five minutes. mr. davis, the work you did when you were here continues on that as you can see, there is more to do. when we start looking at duplicative programs, from your experience on this side of the desk, do you recommend if the committee offers legislation that we use a carrot or stick or both? for example we could look at these programs and simply say through appropriations we are only going to fund x amount now you have to figured out how to combine these rather than eliminating them when you run out of money, period or do we
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create legislative authority for pools of savings being combined and thus create an opportunity in which there's a carrot for agencies that come together such as the electronic medical records if in fact the dod and our previously serving members often known as veterans can simply come together and realize they're dealing with the same people and get stovepiped with different systems. how do you view those two options? >> i like the kid a better simply because when you try to start a budget they look within their budget, they don't look how they can share savings with another agency. it's just not in the nature of the beast. if you can then synthesize groups that work together in those kind of shared savings environment you could do much better. organizations or -- you have to look healthy or incentivized. they're hesitant to give up the control because they don't know what authority they may lose over the long haul so when it
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comes to the shared savings we are not getting the sustainability that we need. i would do something like mandating agencies to look at two or three lines of businesses with the nea each one they could share some of these instead of putting them into stovepipes but it doesn't intend buys them to work with other agencies. it's not the nature. >> i appreciate that, mr. dodaro. >> i think the and said -- >> he's not chairman any more. you don't have to agree. [laughter] >> in this case, i mean it. [laughter] i think there are disincentives in the budget process, for a simple, and the way that the money is there. it's difficult to collaborate across agencies and i think there could be more flexibility that way. also, the idea is you positive there i think are also true at the state and local level in
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dealing with federal agencies on grants like for example we recommended that the federal agencies look at incentives for states to combine and the in plymouth in the training area. a lot of these programs are delivered to state and local lead ministry destructors and a lot of times to have to set up separate structures in order to deliver multiple programs. so i think there's a lot of opportunities for incentives and flexibility. >> a quick follow-up on that. >> since so much of what is delivered in programs like that is in fact presidential earmarks often called grants and competitive grants and so on, should we require that the executive branch do that consolidation, recognize that if you're going to get five pots of money to do substantially the same thing for the executive branch and all many of them on a formula that in fact they become blind. do you think that is a wise piece of legislative or should we try to work if you will
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combined with the administration and their own best interest or last, should we give the states authority to easily come by grants so that no matter where they come from the can merge them which is something governor barbara talked about where he gets different pools of money with different strings. how do you view those options to try to get the efficiencies? >> - all the options are very valid ideas. at the federal level i think there are opportunities to consolidate the various programs. for civil we understand in the administration's proposal for three of the rising and the education area, actually 38 programs we have identified our proposed and consolidated into five. there are thoughts on the surface transportation, clearly that. i do think that the state's should have some flexibility to show, and they can do it in a way to help reduce some of their own cost as you know they're struggling with their own fiscal
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stress and give them some flexibility as long as there is a proper accountability in place. one of the things we've said is there's not enough tracking of the and obligated balance and grant programs. so i think that all of those could work. >> i appreciate that. mr. alexander, just a quick one. you're opening statement, when you took on one of the hardest pillars to take on, the ethanol subsidy, and i appreciate that, how do you propose we begin the process of dealing -- doing away with one of the obvious not a fossil fuel waste in government? do you suggest that we in fact take that 5 billion simply force it to be put into renewable fuels more broadly so that they can be competition from what most would call the more promising fossil fuels or do you have an alternate suggestion? >> our preference would be to have the savings the go to deficit reductions and not just
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in terms of the elimination for several years. i think in many ways, you know, it just can expire. it's done at the end of this year. we don't see anything replacing it. there are lots of efforts to look at new and more promising fuels' but i don't think they need to be tight. that is a failed policy. >> thank you. i recognize the ranking member for his questions. >> thank you. mr. dodaro, one of the things i found interesting about the report is in the report it said dod made major revisions to the acquisition policies and he went on to say more emphasis is placed on the knowledge about the requirements, the technology and the designs. as the chairman of the coast guard subcommittee what we discovered when we were dealing with the deep water project by
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the $25 billion worth of hardware over 25 years and boats that didn't flow, part of the problem, literally, literally, part of the problem of acquisitions process. in other words, they didn't have people who knew what they were doing with regard to specifications, putting together contracts, but the determining, you know, when something, performance was done. they even had the contractors determining when bonuses would be given. and so i'm just trying to dig deep with this dod because we see a lot of money going out the door there. how far have they gotten with that acquisitions that they've made some movements? what do you, i mean, what do you see that -- how much progress have they made and do you see other things that can be done in that regard? >> i think basically, for
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example the weapons system acquisition they put in place as a result of the congressional laws of the weapons systems acquisition reform act as 2,009 the put good policies and practices in their regulations and manuals but the need to implement them more consistently across the department. >> how can we get them to do that? that's the question. >> there's no substitute for regular congressional oversight. >> and chairman davis, you said you talked earlier to me privately about it has to be a sustained effort. how do we sustain? i know if the coast guard we kept bringing them back over and over and over again and we got things done and we saved a few billion dollars in a very few years. but i'm trying to figure out how did we keep that sustained effort, chairman davis? >> two things. one is the difficulty in sustaining this in government is you have people who are replaced
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a free period of time. they have a lot of other priorities. i liken it to mergers and acquisitions. in the private sector cost. you have to take those out and stay competitive. you have a strict time lines, management oversight from of. many times in government you have costs that look good at the front and on paper but by the time they are translated two or three years it sometimes and said costing you because you have this atmosphere. one other thing on the procurement, we don't have enough procurement officers. there's a policy of broken up officers of the pentagon and the need to hire and train more people in these areas. it saves money in the long term to have good people behind them. >> mr. dodaro, i only have a few minutes left, two minutes left, your report says the united states is giving the oil companies at $53 billion because back in 1995, congress exempted them from paying royalties on the leases in the government of mexico. there are some oil companies
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today that pay no royalties to the american taxpayers on certain leases. as part of the so-called royalty relief primm these companies are removing the oil and gas which belongs to the american people, selling it and making a record profits. and so, i'm just trying to figure this is our money is and it? >> there hasn't been a comprehensive look in 25 years of what the federal government is charging for these leases, and when they are ranked, u.s. government's ranked against other countries and even some states we rank below what we are asking for the regular basis for the return of the release for the land. interiors finally agreed to do the comprehensive assessment. it's supposed to be completed this year. i would encourage the congress to review that study and make sure that there are proper incentives. we've also said, mr. cummings,
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that there's not enough verification of production that is occurring on the land is in order to make sure the government is getting its fair return. as bernanke put this on your hi list risk is that right? why was that? >> we believe there wasn't reasonable assurance that the federal government was getting the revenue that they were due as a result of the leases for two of the reasons i mentioned before. >> in other words they were being cheated? >> i think that it's not clear we have reasonable assurance. we are getting everything we should -- >> but the fact is it's money that is due to the american people on our land and we are not getting it will let me tell you something, if that happened anywhere people were being cheated, folks would be going to jail in my district. as a matter of fact someone steals a $300 bike they go to jail. so, here we have billions
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drifting away into the same time we are trying to find money to make sure that kids can go to school and have teachers and all that kind of thing, but this has to be a priority. and i know the chairman has made -- this is a big issue for the chairman and i looking for to working with you as we tackle this problem. thank you, mr. chairman. we now recognize the gentleman from florida. >> thank you mr. chairman. a quick note on the ethanol, count me in on finding the savings and on a personal issue at all has been screwing up my boat motor. so count me in the. a minute ago the ranking member said that the omb was sent here partly because the planning and doing, you know, but wouldn't it have been a great way to plan to actually come to the hearing and get some input and share their
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thoughts? and the ranking member also said one of the ways they were able to get some savings and be effective in another committee dealing with the coast guard was keep bringing them back but i would like the wendi to show up for the first time so we can keep bringing them back and figuring out ways to save some money. and i'm going to -- let me start with this. mr. dodaro, has the administration had any reaction to your report so far? >> i've not talked to them about the report. we have -- there are some areas in the high risk list that we have made a number of attempts omb is on high-risk list and we are engaged in regular discussions on that and i do believe the announcement yesterday they were proposing a commission to deal with the
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federal property issue was in response to this report as well. i do plan to follow-up with them and to try to create dialogue to make sure all these issues are addressed. >> the haven't had a reaction. >> would be nice of the director of omb was here so we could ask him that question. >> my understanding is the director said that they are on the same page as we are. >> mr. davis, good to see you again. isn't this really -- i mean, i remember my first term here when we were in the majority, weren't there reports -- did in the president, president bush at the time, didn't they come up with programs that were duplicative and in the nature that could be done away with? so this is a real problem. this isn't just the first report were the first time we've
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learned the federal government is wasting money by having duplicative programs. >> unfortunately it's a soap opera. mr. dodaro would agree that. things that have been in that high risk list for a generation, and it takes a sustained effort on the part of republicans and democrats working with the administration to get these done and the promise is keeping your eye on the ball with everything that goes on and when you cut budgets and go through this er these are the kind of things that fall through the cracks. you still have the pentagon but the books aren't able to be audited so how do you know where you are on these kind of things? so yes it's a soap opera. >> mr. dodaro, can you give us any recommendations on what might be some of the low hanging fruit? i mean, do know, mr. chairman, if we could move on any of these, if you would be a sign of
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moving in the right direction. so is there any kind of low hanging fruit, things that are either so ridiculous in nature that by not acting it's kind of a shame? >> my recommendation would be to build of where there is good consensus about the need to streamline, like for it simple, in the areas i mentioned with the multiple programs there are recommendations flexible on the employment and training area to reduce and consolidate some of the programs and surface transportation there is agreement, the quality and improving those consolidated and there's common agreements there semis just would be to build off where there's a consensus as a starting point. and these areas where mr. davis mentioned on the high risk list we've seen progress. i would say the real point
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though we took two areas off the list and both of those areas have more than a dozen congressional hearings. it requires top-level attention, metrics on progress, but there's a lot of opportunities to do this. also opportunities in the property area that isn't needed if it needs to be disposed of. we are spending by the latest estimates over $1.6 billion a year to maintain property this underutilized. it doesn't make sense. there should be more competition in contracting. about one-third of the contracts that were put in place had either no competition or one better on the competition. there is also $640 million sitting in a customs collection account for a number of years that there haven't been decisions on how to use.
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that could be an easy and quick wit and. there is also a lot of money going out the door of the improper payments that i think could be stopped. that is going to take time and effort. we talked about the use of technology but i think that that's another area where the latest estimate and all of the programs have been estimated yet. the latest estimates are about $125 billion so there are plenty of targets of opportunity and would be happy to work with congress and the administration to get results. >> thank you very much. >> i thank the giblin. >> i recognize the gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich for five minutes. >> thank you very much, ms. alexandre i would like to ask you as the president of the tax payers for common sense, you're take on the american people giving the most profitable industry in the world is $53 billion gift. i'd like to break this down in layman's terms, and if i have
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any misperceptions about this media can help me with it. due to a flaw in the 1995 our continental shelf deep water fact, numerous companies are drilling in mexico in federal land and paying no royalties to the federal government. is that correct? and as we have heard, the gao -- could you see that louder? >> my microphone was not long. i'm sorry, that's right. no royalties right now that the interior and the structure of the deep water royalty case. >> as we heard the reports u.s. taxpayers could lose as much as $53 billion as a result of this and it's already begun and fiscal year 2011 the bureau the ocean energy management regulation and enforcement estimates we will lose
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$1.4 billion. in contrast, the oil industry is making stuttering profits. for example, the top five oil companies reported profits of $485 billion in 2005 to 2009. exxonmobil, the largest american oil company reported a 53% increase in its fourth quarter profits. chevron, the number to american oil company reported fourth quarter earnings 72% higher than the preceding years. the third largest, conocophillips, reported quarterly profit climbed 46%. now ms. alexander, is this an industry that needs billion dollar giveaways? >> tax payers for common sense has worked on this a long time and our position is perfectly clear we do not think the oil companies need the subsidies or any others so we think this is an issue that is right for the congress to address and in some ways it is so outrageous
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problems in the deep water royalty relief is that there should be bipartisan agreement on these are taxpayers' assets people are taking and if any of us all those oil reserves and said yes, just take it. people would think we were a little crazy. >> back into those of life on the wheel was about $55 a barrel president bush addressed the society newspaper editors i want to quote what he said. quote, i will tell you which 55-dollar oil. we don't need incentives to the oil companies and gas companies to explore. there are plenty of incentives. we need to put a strategy in place to help the country over time become less dependent. ms. alexandre, would you agree with that statement by president bush? >> i would come in and with the last check about $98 a barrel it seems like it's still less. >> so it makes more sense now? recently, john hofmeister retired in 2008 and runs the citizens for affordable energy
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told the national journal that big oil companies don't need government help. would you agree? >> i would agree it doesn't need government help. >> how can we modify the subsidy structure to encourage the transition of what say clean renewable energy sources? >> our position has always been we know what we don't need and we can get rid of it. congress can come together, develop a solution to the problem of the royalty relief leases and some of the bigger tax expenditures have significant benefits for oil and gas companies. there are subsidies for the gas companies in the tax code and for different spending programs that there's a big opportunity for there to be bipartisan action for the reform that will help close the deficit in just one step and what a mature industry stand on its own 2 feet. many of the subsidies the royalty relief program isn't
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100-years-old but some are as much as 100-years-old and the industry doesn't need that anymore. >> and the handles don't do anything to help the american economy is that right? >> we think that the handle torian very profitable companies. >> with the gentleman yield his remaining time for a follow-up question? >> sure. stat ms. alexander, i think it's important for everyone that wasn't here when german davis had about our investigation it's the leases of called, not necessarily the wall. isn't that correct? the lease is didn't trigger when the oil prices and natural gas prices reached the threshold to trigger the royalties. >> my understanding is there's a set of leases issued between 1996 and 2000 that were false, there was an era in the drafting than that because they didn't have the threshold and subsequently the court ruled all of the structure language in the
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leases and that period that contained them was flawed and so all of those or extend from the royalties right now. it is a complex problem, but it's not -- >> i do think was bipartisan support, still, to try to fix that. thank you. >> i'm sorry. mr. langford of oklahoma. >> thank you. and thanks all for coming. we talked earlier about incentives for agencies to look reduplicate waste. obviously everyone wants to have more staff and do more things and everyone sees problems and they want to help solve it. one incentives specifically do you see that you think okayed this is an incentive to help the cause honestly i talked with several people that are federal workers. they see it as well. they see the waste about them and i can't believe we felt this form and we do this. someone else does this. they see it. how do we create incentives in the agency to that specific employees to say when you see it here is a way to be able to help us get out of it. >> i will give a couple of
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samples. why was that of the fairfax i went to my agency heads and a budget time and asked for the budget and they came up with nothing. we said look, what you can find you can spend some of this your own way within certain guidelines and they came up with a lot more. his interest in coaching to be cutting their budget or is it is going to the, quote, deficit. it's not in the nature of the way things work. so that is one thing you could do. another is we could bring the agencies and ask them to take certain lines of business and look for ways to share the savings and report back. just two or three lines of business her agency. right now they can work together. the best example of that is the record between the va and the dod. there's no reason you have to do the different sets of health records. i will give you one other if i can just take a second. right now for the state governments spending a lot of money on just being able to authenticate the communications with the federal and from it. security standards exist to
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authenticate users to access data and federally funded systems posted by the state. each federal agency interprets the standards differently so the states have to meet each federal agency standards replicating a different process to various programs that cost a lot of money. social security uses technology for verification, department of justice will use a certain procedure and protocol on that. have you do different things you ought to have one standard and cost for these things. >> that's terrific, mr. dodaro. >> mr. davis talked within each agency, and i do agree with his suggestions in terms of forcing people to come up with recommendations. but many things we point out in our report or multiple agencies involved in the same area and we believe the only way this is going to get assault despite high levels within the administration. owen b. needs to play a very critical role in this endeavor and the congress does as well to provide the right type of
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incentives. for example, one of the areas that's not mention what we are going to work on it, it's in our high-risk list is the disabilities programs. it is about 200 different disabilities programs, and because of our insistence working with omb on the high risk set of meetings i talked about before, it brought together all the agencies involved in that process. it was one of the first time as they ever met to be able to discuss that. so i think there is ways to build incentives and deal with disincentives. another area we recommended before is leasing versus buying. there is, you know, a sort of a bye yes in the roles that we have recommended that be changed as well. >> what me ask you a specific question. you mentioned about contacting vehicles and two are recommending to were contracting. he compiled a list you say these should be seriously looked at? >> yes, these are contracts that are interagency contracts and what we have said is there are
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really not a list. the list of to be compiled by the executive branch and need physical and people should make sure -- -- we have a multitude of contracts and systems for procurement. you don't have at this point a list to secure the different contracting vehicles waiting are inherently inefficient. >> we have the types of vehicles that are inefficient or pose more risk to the federal government. i would be happy to provide that. >> i would like that list as well. graybill to reach these different agencies to be given to research and in a way most cannot. what would you perceive as the need for individuals to the devil to reach in and be able to search the data city agencies can get out their employment, their strategies, the program philosophies to be able to go through the cut and search it not just a pds on the web site but actual searchable data is there a need for that and is that possible to pilaf? >> there is definitely the need for it. there's not enough of it and it is possible. estimates that one of the areas you have the opportunity to do that but there are people at
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home the would like to search that and research that would be journalists or individuals and that is something i would like to see us continue to push on as has been mentioned before and continue to find ways to do that. one last thought on the sunset programs. is there a particular plan that you seem to say this is a great way to sunset these out? >> i can't there needs to be regular reauthorization of programs. there are too many programs that are created that don't have a regular review and process in place. i do think the government needs to invest more in the program evaluations. one of the things we find and we talk about here a lot of the programs have been operating for years and it's really not a lot of empirical evidence of what the returns are, whether they are being effective. so i think the federal government has in the past shortchanged the program evaluation, and i think it needs to be put in place on a regular basis. >> thank you. i yield back.
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>> i now recognize mr. connolly. >> thank you. our former chairman and my predecessor in this seat in virginia, my good friend tom davis. welcome back, tom. in fact perhaps congressman davis we could begin with you. you talked up the fact it would be a wise investment to expand the number of acquisition procurement personnel within the federal government so that we are looking for a efficiencies and cost savings. could you expand on that just a little bit? because one of the things that certainly has struck a number of people is federal contracting increased enormously in the 1990's but procurement and acquisition personnel within the federal government didn't keep up with that. >> and cemetery as it declined. it cut budgets and in fact many times to go to a procurement meeting and what you have is a lot of contractors running the procurement. that's not all bad that you need a cadre inside of the government to understand the tool box that
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they have to figure out what is the best value for their government and that needs constant training and all of those kinds of things. what's happened many times is the end of losing good personal to the private sector and yet that's where you get your cost overrun. that's where you get contracts that aren't performing well because you don't have the appropriate oversight. ..
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titles like that, but sometimes we have to make strategic investments to protect taxpayers dollars. is that not correct, mr. dodaro? >> that's true. you need to look at outlook but make sure you have the proper oversight. contracting is a particularly important aero. >> congressman davis, just knowing you are in the technology side here, right now the administration is looking at several data centers and trying to consolidate as a corporation of those federal data centers. what's your sense of prime suspect for achieving more efficient the protection of data and cost savings of tax tears? >> you have over 2100 data centers right now for 24 different agent fees. and the. i think you can save $700.00 billion a year. you need to look at the security is due to those kinds of things. but in so many areas were not
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sharing david demers to 18. mr. dodaro, there's so many ways we can work across asia needs to store these things come you get the economies of scales and this, you can gain along the way if we would learn between agencies to share these things. and it's just not been a culture. >> mr. dodaro, going back to the subject and ms. alexander, in response to the chairman's question, he said the problem is that the royalty agreement, not with the law. i thought he heard to say actually there was a change of law perhaps been a lot written in 1995 that has the effect, i've pretty much exempting offshore oil drilling from anywhere at all. >> is my understanding there was a flaw in the execution of the interior in the 90s. whether or not there's a flaw in the lot is a little more of an opinion matter, but it is the
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fact that there were errors in addressing the lease agreement of interior in the 90s that we think are probably subsequently in the court decision with all price threshold. >> gas, but with respect to this change in the comment that is something obviously within the purview of congress. q-quebec well, this is something congress can come together and we hope that you do. >> finally, mr. dodaro, any estimate on the loss of revenue in terms of the factory or 93rd out of 104 countries of royalties exact from the oil industry? >> i don't think we have a current estimate in that regard, but i do think as i mentioned earlier we don't have reasonable assurance that were collecting as much as we should. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you.
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mr. kelley of pennsylvania for five minutes. with the gemini for just a moment? be not pay well. >> thank you. >> i think mr. conley made a very good point in his chairman, mr. lang spared that this is one of the only areas to take on a new procurement reform of the together because i do believe this is an example where these kinds of questions and answers here we can provide the subcommittee some of the history so you could work on procurement reform to make clear we never write a lot again that could be misinterpreted by a interior, written correctly and ultimately not surviving the court. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. dodaro, good to see you again. one of my questions and from where i am, we do a lot of touring and i've been to a lot of deepak plants. maybe you can understand me.
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we started talking about duplication and how many people we have in different places, taking different names. a lot of the same time is maybe coming up with some type of the lead. the usda has every day, is that not true? >> i believe so. >> again, my question then comes when we have the folks every day. we have a plan that has been on for the critical control point and considered in appearing scientific application of the state-of-the-art systems. every meat plant designs their own system in accordance with the usda requirements must operate successfully. we do not need an inspector at every plant everyday. we operate the same whether instructors are present or not. i would say from an attendant lifetime, with a lot more important from snapshots time to time.
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we have folks in the plant everyday come usda inspectors watching what these people do. in addition to that, we send in another group that comes into go over what they already have gone over. and i would that happens, these aren't large meat processors. small place that may be 4050 employees. they've got to stop what they're doing and spend a week going over the plan, which has gone over every day with the usda inspector. i'm just trying to understand if they go through this and see the duplication of this and the cost to taxpayers and the cost benefit analysis, wherein the end of the taxpayer and could you shed any light on this? >> we have learned out for a number of years that the food safety system is completely fragmented. it's really not operating effectively. there is a need to go to risk based approach and i think that is worth your pointing out the real need to do that. we'd recommend it that there be
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a congress commission studied with the national academy to redesign this. a lot of her food now it's coming from foreign is them are so on domestic reduction a lot. so we set the system right now can be a lot better and there needs to be real look at the risk based approach is really the way to go. >> i wonder about this. i just keep wondering why we keep shooting ourselves in the foot and wonder why we haven't been. we have these diminished and we keep going over and over again and everybody comes up at the same answer. there's too many regulations and too much overlap. when does it stop? when we face it? >> i think you just have to figure out which priority is congress wants to pursue and stick with it. i mean, i think there is not a lot of substantive focusing on
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these areas and results. they are our cultures and incentives that will keep things in place until they're broken and the only way they'll be broken is through sustained efforts by the congress and the administration in order to do it. otherwise it won't change material. >> i'm looking forward to working with you in to write the same conclusions to get things faced. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back the >> we now recognize mr. tierney for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you know, it's interesting, mr. dodaro. i heard my colleagues say they would like to solve the problems having to do with the lease of the noncollection royalties. your report that government retain oil and gas produced by federal leases. seems like a very commonsense recommendations. everyone on the panel says they
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agree with it, but interestingly these royalty issues the lease continue. and you agree we're not getting it. >> there's not reasonable insurance we are. >> with the report by mr. issa and his colleagues phyllis thatcher during may go beyond 1998, 1998 bases and culminated depending upon the market price of oil and natural gas off work on royalties for a total of nearly $80 billion. in fact, your report says that between $21,000,000,053,000,000,000, jumping from his oil companies into their pockets instead of playing down debt. we have shell and bp and exxon mobil, 485 profit in the last 10,200 jobs. so this is a situation and they talk about understanding the history. everybody knows that the problem is. everybody knows what the
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consequences are and i just want to make sure everybody knows there's a solution out there. my massachusetts colleague, ed markey has proposed a way to address the problem. first he recognizes he can go back and what the list is bogus and litigation. his resolutions are an alternative to that. they would not allow any nearly 50 companies that are currently benefiting from no royalty leases. those companies have the choice to either keep your no oil leases or begin a fair price and get releases eventually on the deceptive man. now my colleague has worked very closely with the congressional research service to make sure there were no constitutional issues. my question to you, ms. alexander is do you support legislation? >> we work with representative markey. we just want to see this fixed. but that would work coming out. >> now with a history of everybody saying they want to
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reserve the problem. and yet as a result, let me tell you the last week -- last friday mr. markey offered that legislation on the house floor. not a single one of our colleagues from the other side voted for it. all the people on our side did. it was off the floor again this week and again not what i want her colleagues voted for it and everyone that people on the side of the aisle voted for it. last year and the year before -- this is not a new idea. this is something he's repeatedly brought to the floor. so if we think we'll understand the problem, if we know the history and if we all say we ought to fix it, it always takes these can make things happen. i hear a lot of words. so ms. alexander, we can offer this over and over, but until her friends on the republican side of the aisle want to put these behind their words, we will get much action. what you say to convince my republican colleagues over here were blocking this change, what would you say they have in mind
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when mr. markey reaches the floor? >> as they say, our position is to just fix it. the markey bill does fix it comes up that's one way to do it. come up with another solution. >> taught him by the markey amendment works and why you support it. >> we supported because it is a constitutional approach based on what we've read to putting the lease holders of the no royalty is in a position where they have an incentive to renegotiate. simply put, we just want to not continue to give away, so really cannot let the different options. >> when you say to my republican colleagues. we understand the problem. we share you say. it's your intention to resolve it and we provided you with a perfectly legitimate way to resolve it. let's work on it and next time it comes, maybe he'll vote on it to get the matter resolved. $53 billion back to where people. so when i'm running around cutting money from teachers and reduce in pell grants for students can't afford college,
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wracking job ratings. let's get serious and descending for real. >> of the gentleman yield? >> i will yield. >> mr. alexander, one of the things the report says was that in some instances information is being provided by the oil companies around the sleep in their results reporting and in some instances there is no reporting what the weather. >> could you comment on that, please? >> the issue of self reporting is basically an honor system. here is our oil, take us, tell us how much you've taken. if you don't think that's the right way to do business, congress and the administration is treating taxpayers if they have a fiduciary responsibility to manage assets. we do support the markey fix, but we also worked ghostly with mr. chairman issa. i think there's a real potential for a bipartisan solution on this and from the taxpayers do this to the over.
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>> thank you. >> i think the gentleman. >> for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for the presentations from the entire board. mr. dodaro, i didn't know for sure, but i was listening to the language and i thought he picked up the pittsburgh and i'm glad to see -- is jim dodaro your brother clerics okay, it's the pittsburgh and the boys. listen, thank you for your presentation today. i come to this committee with a background that includes time as united states attorney and in that capacity came in just after september 11 when we were dealing with issues of terrorism. we share responsibilities and other committees as well. one of those committees on which i served as homeland security. and as a result i think as each of us went to your theory comprehensive assessment of
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government spending in various capacities, but also the duplication is really struck for two reasons, one with respect to the bureaucratic overlay of so many agencies, but also what's at stake with the issue of bioterrorism. so i take a minute to read from your report at least five departments, agencies and more than two dozen presidential appointees overseas, $6.4 billion related to bioterrorism. on the front end of this, we are saying there is no broad integrated national strategy that accomplishes all the stakeholders have bio defense responsibilities to identify the risk systematically, access resources that are needed to do it and to prioritize and allocate the investment across the spectrum. so that's on the front end to prevent an incident. then you conclude there is no national plan to coordinate federal, state and local efforts
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following the bioterror attack. the united states? the technical and operational capabilities required for an adequate response. this could be katrina all over again. we're really on the front end of a remarkable challenge for my work on homeland security council, bioterrorism is the very real threat. can you take a minute to comment on this very, very important aspect of this report? >> if they would commit thank you. following september 11, there is a lot of focus on protect in the transportation system, particularly the airline industries. what we were trying to focus on and i think the 9/11 commission was whether the other potential risk for the country? what are other avenues that could be pursued? for example, smuggling information or threats over the
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border physically. other modes of transportation. but the bio defense areas where we fell for a number of years wasn't getting enough attention and understanding that the threats were for having an appropriate plan in place to be able to do it is like a number of areas that really requires multiple agencies to be involved and they really haven't been a means to coordinate a year and we try elevate this with the homeland security council and the national security council which are well poshard. we have much responses i would like in this to provide for proper leadership. so i do think this is an area where congressional oversight is foreign to and from my would be very welcome some of the very important things that could be done to make sure we position to detect and prevent something, not only in a position to be reacting after-the-fact. >> mr. davis. >> let me just say if you think
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that's tough, what about cybersecurity, or you can tell, dhs, dod and every agency doing a different approach? i think it will be even more alarming. >> i only have 50 seconds, but i'm going to ask both of you in response to this, would you tell me how we look at creating the kind of mechanism where there is a national strategy focal point worth a single point of response to be both prepared on the front end and coordinate these assets and that's important in the event that we have been in demand to be able to respond effectively on the backend. we have asked for attention to be paid. if i understand, maybe you can tell me the history here. what is the solution? what works best in terms of how we organize and then seek
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accountability? >> i'll take a quick stab. one of the problems that the executive branch level is jurisdiction in terms of who is going to be involved. this is going to take engagement from the congress, both parties that the administration and figure datapath in moving ahead. we have a deprivation since 2002. long overdue, but i think will take a lot of dialogue and a lot of bipartisan cooperation to decide, but it has to be done. >> i agree with that completely. i think this needs upper-level congressional and mustered support to be able to do it. you can't work with the agencies on a peer level and expect they are going to create this type of mechanism. this fundamental problem. >> and i just said, two of my kids but these were not college. >> they are obviously bright children. ending on the high note, the gentleman's time is expired. we now recognize the gentleman from vermont for five minutes.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. dodaro, that is a great report. i really want to thank you florida. i thought among other things it was terrific that it looked at the whole problem, not just the loss from duplication, but also the loss from inappropriate tax subsidies, improper payments come in the air raid in our payments. so it was quite comprehensive and extremely helpful. mr. chairman, went to thank you thank you, too. the focus of this inquiry is very important, mr. ranking member, really appreciated. a little bit about the oil subsidies is an easy target for us, but if it isn't taking care of, your report indicated $53 billion could be saved by taxpayers if we eliminated the oil subsidies for royalty-free drilling at a time of $100 a barrel oil. so you fully support eliminating that subsidy for the oil companies so they can save money for the taxpayers?
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>> we were asked to calculate what it would be if that would have been in place. >> i would ask you what it was for. it would be $53 billion. >> i believe that is the high-end of our estimate. but what we are trying to focus on -- >> let me just go on. ms. alexander, you indicated again i applaud you because you're taking a comprehensive approach her, looking at all the elements of how the taxpayers getting hammered unnecessarily. but the oil subsidies and a bespoke about as well that we should get rid of the oil companies disagree in a spent about $340 million in the past year saw been to retain this tax payer health. >> the oil companies jobs to make company drilling oil. it's congress' job to have the fiduciary role and take care taxpayer dollars. we think there's room for a fix.
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>> is a curfew if they are going to taxpayer subsidies, and that is an expense to every taxpayer in the country, but the intention is to create jobs but that subsidy should go to emerging technologies and industries, not mature and profitable industries. >> we took a skeptical look at all subsidies and certainly as a starting point we want to know what would make getting for attack dollars. to put a dollar and 20 street, we want to know why we are doing it and what our goals are. if were trying to get jobs and are not coming to an effective subsidy. if it's mature and should be allowed to take care of itself, should need subsidies. we'll be skeptical about subsidies to an emerging technology that is very high performance standards and a reason in that timeframe. >> that skepticism is appropriate and should be applied to a tax expenditure, which cost the taxpayer money as it should be applied to any line item expenditure in the budget,
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correct? >> we see it that way, yes. >> mr. davis, some people say you're real smart politician. i want to ask you really for some advice. >> i'm a reformed politician. >> you know, in this room was that the democrats attempt to hammer away on what we see as tax giveaways and a lot of times the other side of the aisle is focusing on duplication. my view, we are both right. whether his duplication, we had to eliminate. or there is a freebie tax subsidy we had to eliminate that. but we are sort of berates an opposite kind the line here and now the chairman make you never want to save taxpayers money. as the ultimate goal. i wonder what you think about is trying prepare areas. mr. langford is doing good work in a subcommittee. you mention, for instance, duplication and makes those vents. why don't we have one set of medical records?
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would've prepared that getting rid of the ethanol subsidy were there does seem to be some bipartisan port and you're doing them together. or another might be no purpose in costing taxpayers $53 billion in repair that with following your advice on the worry of different federal agencies requiring the states to accommodate each one of their different standards for verification. it makes absolutely no sense. so how do we -- my frustration here at times of namesake of the political impediment that inhibits us from taking appropriate action that can make real progress. in your testimony, you suggested we look in the mirror and frankly i think that's pretty good advice. and michael here with e. to save taxpayers money. for the duplication we can agree
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on not be eliminated, but to avoid there is a tax expenditure that's just a rip off from the perspective of the taxpayer. with eliminated. moving ahead, making progress, the chairman make you never want to accomplish here. do you think that makes sense? >> in him only makes sense, it's essential. you're the democratic administration and need the administration by them. a congress that is divided. and when it comes to race, one man pork is another man's state, but a lot of these efficiency issues i think we have to deal to come together on this committee, sit down. we're not going to agree on everything, but there enough things we agree not to put together the report and then you have to drive it. you have to go to the administration, go to the floor. let's face it. this interest group that set committee room to want to weigh in on subsidies and if he's each talk in the vacuum. these are the numbers. when you get outside, it becomes more difficult.
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this committee could play a very vital role in coming together with a strong bipartisan report and pushing not come a holding hearings. i think it getting everybody back again with get some agreement on this and trying to drive it. the frustration i felt it. 14 years in the house is there is no sustainability. u.k. report come at the hearing, get momentum and we forget about it and move on to the new thing. but this is something this committee was empowered to do when it was formed back in the 50s. and i think it is something we're not going to agree in everything, but there enough things we agreed to put together a juicy report and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. i think it's a good suggestion. >> i would give you more time if i possibly could because you are on all the right methods and i think the gentlemen. we now recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. we are very pennsylvania oriented. mr. platts for five minutes.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i certainly think all three of the witnesses. great to have all of you. mr. davis, with all respect, i want to say mr. chairman, great to have you back as well. >> whetted out. keep letting it out. >> your insights are certainly very helpful to us and i want to commend senator coburn are having sponsored legislation to result in this report in the important work of the gao and now following through on the assignment. and really what i see is the beginning of the process, the first of what will be opiate daylight between gao, this committee and support work. and tom come you touched on a perfect sustainability that we all just talked about these things, but then we follow through. and when you are chairman and now chairman ice, had the privilege of chairing the subcommittee on government organization efficiency and the nature of management. i assure you we will do our best
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as a subcommittee to sustain this effort from the legislative side and working with all the parties. on a specific issue, when you think about within the report, what is highlighted in the inefficiency and duplication, the waste of resources, teacher quality, education of kids come employment training, especially with unemployment for a most ears, dod, homeland security committees are all top priorities for our country and for citizens, yet we know we can do a lot better with resources we are putting into them. the 21st questions rtu and this will probably in follow-up hearings with fewer staff on the subcommittee level. as he looked at some of the duplication, such as 4 billion on teacher -- teacher quality, is there any ability to give even a testament of saving, administrative savings if we took 82 different programs into
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even half that number? any ability to give a testament and how much could we likely save from eliminating the duplication? >> i'll go back and take a look, but i don't think we were able to do it because there is a lot of limitations on the amount of information that's available, on what it costs to administer some of these programs, particularly those in the case that administered to the state and local level. we do believe there's plenty of opportunity to consolidate programs. as i mentioned earlier in the administration's proposal for education reform, they are already proposing consolidating these programs in 12 of them. i think there's a lot of opportunities. i don't have a process i wish i did. >> that is a positive sign here come the reference to secretary duncan, though looking at trying to be proactive in the consolidation effort, to be more efficient if they follow on any
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similar answer that shall have the ability to edit detail at at this point. and that is when you look at the teacher quality, teacher preparation, those 82 programs i don't think probably have the data available to you right now to do a cost-benefit analysis and a are we happy these two programs -- these i have over here we can show it done a great job. these other 77 are struggling, so when we look to consolidate consolidate -- is that accurate at this point you don't have the data orient the ticket to the detail of the cost benefit analysis? >> that's correct, especially for the smaller programs. we do mention the reported number of the smaller programs are so small it's hard to evaluate them. >> under 50 million number of administrative costs them with the savings would be. and looking ahead to the hearing process, i've got to tell you, temptation is to try to make a point about the duplication to
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invite one representative from a 82 i'm just teacher education. we feel the room. i wouldn't be any seats left to make the point that your report does. we need to do a lot better here. additional questions that we try to squeeze in here and proper payment is a huge issue. you reference 125 william and probably the low end. as we know or think we know about how much is really out there. any specific recommendations? when we think of how to balance the budget and deficit reduction, you know, it's entitlement reform into the biggest areas are medicaid and medicare. any specific areas you want to point us towards with them is the two programs? >> the first thing i would say in the medicare area or needs to be an estimate for the prescription drug component. right now there is of the the estimate is incomplete. there are opportunities to use more information to elegy up
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front to help attack and we are looking at and evaluating opportunities right now. we talked about the high risk the chairman ice and we're looking at that issue. i think the improper payments elimination and reporting act was passed by congress last year at the very important vehicle that lowers the threshold, requires accountability, requires regular reporting, setting a target in follow-up entrained spirits and reporting. so i do think this is a really important area that we sustained attention, that can make a lot of progress. >> hopefully we can sustain that effort with you and chairman davis -- >> i would just say i'm improper payments i think has been constantly solvable for government and the legislation helps. there is so many great software items out there in front detection that are being utilized. i think you need to continue to
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push that from here. and i just said, sharing savings contracts or something the government needs to look at in these areas here that is basically don't see anything amiss to get to 93% are not and is negotiated down. they are legal under the fire, but rarely used. it is a great way to get something out there quickly. it doesn't come out of budget, producing that government. >> i think the gentleman. >> the gentlelady from the district of columbia, is burned for five minutes. >> thank you very much. i have a question for mr. dodaro and mr. davis, my regional neighbor, but i'm going to give you a pat on the sentencing to sure. i'm not going to ask about oil subsidies. in fact, i'm going to ask you about a subsidy with the surface. our ranking members chaired a
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committee that has to do with property and property disposal. i note mr. dodaro, that you identified as i'd like you to elaborate upon it because it's dated improving cost analysis to make federal facility decisions could save tens of millions of dollars. just give an example, we just built a beautiful department of transportation just a few years ago. it was huge, state-of-the-art. guess where? we built the department of transportation and will always be there as the headquarters building. we built it, give it a 15 -- it's built by a developer. we have a 15 year lease on it. when that leases the outcome would show a bought the building. and we will start buying the
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building again. i believe this has a lot to do with scoring. what changes do you think should be made into should make it? we want to came to this humongous boss if not tens of millions, but billions of dollars because we don't do real estate the way the private sector does. how should we change the scoring? who should do a quick visit administrative? >> we recommend that the omb, but proposal to be what to do with this issue. that's not been done yet, but it's a combination of action by omb work in the cbo in the budget committees they really would have to make a change in the rolls. i think it's appropriate. there needs to be flexibility. it's not always one way or the other, but there needs but there needs to be a good cost-benefit study and the government and taxpayers would benefit. >> on asking for is the federal government should not have one way of doing real estate transaction with the rest of the country does it another way.
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first thing you got to look at its widest everybody else do it that way? why do you buy a home with a mortgage and put the money straight down? why is that better for the taxpayer? mr. davis, i was interested. mib. -- this is so davis lake, when approach to things, this notion of trying to find ways to work together. i noted that in properties, we signed a letter with the chairman in which we were asking dsa to access to their database on excess profiting. now the president has a hold that the on excess property going on and now you see her committee well. so you see the administration can you see this committee and you see the appropriate
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committee all going at the same issue, all seen that there are dollars there. were all, mr. davis, having been chairman of the committee do you think the committee should play now that there's been so many interested in this low-hanging fruit? >> the administrator of gsa has just put this together her own advisory committee on the subject, too, doing away with the surplus properties. you have a lot of cooks in the kitchen right now. this committee meets driving outcome. they think you need to hold the seat to the fire, for some time limits on this. this has been around a long time. before i came to congress, trying to dispose of property are useless to property and away we can rehabilitate and use them to share the private sector. what we need to do here at the subcommittee level is continue to hold hearings and tried to keep their feet to the fire. you got the time limits on this before the clock runs out.
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i think mr. dodaro's report shows a lot of savings and we can get it right. just add one little thing in the scoring. i hate to mention this, but you get frustrated and congress can direct scoring you don't get any action. >> which we direct scoring? >> you can read the rules for scoring. we've done it with some frequency. >> i yield back. thank you. >> the generally deals back in another former chairman of the committee, mr. burgess, recognize for five minutes. >> time, it's good seeing you again. i understand you're in the private sector making lots of money. good to see you. he's blushing -- >> out this morning, but -- >> anyhow, welcome back. it's good to see you. this picture simply doesn't do you justice. but anyhow, i'd like to make a brief comment about mr. tierney's remarks. i wish he was still here. we checked on the issue that he
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raised on the eternal motion in the reason the re-committal motion filled with because they were an aside -- i don't like to use the term blackmailing, but black checking the oil companies into renegotiating leases that it darty been agreed to in order to get a new lease. and that is some end i think most people would agree is a violation of law. there was the case and i'm saving all this for the record. there was a case in 2007 that went to court, where they try to force the renegotiation of the contract in one because the contract was valid in the government had no right to go back and insist on changing that, simply because they wanted to get more back from the company. now, i think there is a baby can do this in the future and we talked about that.
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and then as we can encourage them would renegotiate leases, not threatening the old thesis, but when we've renegotiate leases to create a better way to get those funds back that would help bring women into the treasury and reduce the debt. now i'd like to go into this a little further. this is not the subject at hand, but i think it's extremely important. we've been talking about this i notice on the news the last few days there's more and more commentators and experts, quote unquote talking about it. and that is, our dependence on foreign energy and it plays into what we're talking about in an unusual way. we import about 63% of our energy back in 1972 when we had the oil embargo about 25% or 26%. the more than doubled our dependency on middle eastern oil, oil coming from mexico
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canada and venezuela, communist dictator down there, shouted your rear in a situation where these oil supplies were in jeopardy. we could see the cost of oil per barrel go through the roof and the cost of gasoline and other things we use oil for us or his energy is concerned go through the roof. right now i've got some gasoline last night, which may not be of interest to anybody, but reykjavík castling to cost me $3.57 a gallon and that was the lowest i could find on the entire george washington parkway. so the cost is higher than that in d.c. and is going to. some people say there's disruption of the oil supplies coming in from the middle east alone if we had blockage of the suez canal for the persian gulf, that we'd see oil and gas costs go through the roof here you can see $5 from $6 a gallon gas. now, we deliver in this country
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a great deal of our resources by truck. pickens was inducing a week or two without any told me of the converted or got all of the 18 wheelers use natural gas, we could cut our dependence on foreign oil by 50% within the next decade. that's one thing and yet we're not drilling or doing anything to explore for energy in this country. we can't get oil leases, new oil leases aggregating all kinds of environmental issues raised that say we can't drill here, and drill there. we've got trillions of gallons of coal shale to be converted to gas, to oil. we've got oil all over this country come in the end were enough the continental shelf and in the gulf of mexico. we've got trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and we're not doing any thing. and so we are in effect creating
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a greater dependency on foreign energy than we ever have in the history of this country. we've gone from 25% to 60% dependent on foreign energy since we had the oil embargo, where people were bucking for bucks to get a can of gas to get to her. and so just give me another 30 seconds, mr. chairman. i think it's extremely important than a novice this is off the subject and i appreciate you being tolerant of my comments. it's important when we are talking about renegotiating or negotiating oil or whatever were talking about, do we realize we have a huge dependency on foreign energy in this country from an economic standpoint and a defense standpoint could be in a terrible situation if we don't move towards energy independence. i think all of us, regardless of whether were democrat or republican ought to be talking about ways we can move in this direction as quickly as possible. because if we don't do things go south in the middle east or in
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venezuela or elsewhere, we could really see problems. my thoughts, castling through the roof, cost of all the good things service is going through the roof and inflationary spiral that could kill this country. without coming thank you very very much, mr. chairman. >> mr. burton, can i react to that? i think you're on, but you've got to remember the stone age didn't and because they ran out of stones. our dependency on oil. they will be alternative fuels developed and i think that continues to be long-term strategy. the most frustrating if congress is in ability and i was part of this, to come to grips with some kind of defined energy policy that has more domestic production. as you noted, more research and incentives into alternative fuels, which we started to do. and more conservation. it's a three-pronged deal in the party should be able to come together on this for exactly what you say is going to happen.
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>> ester chairman, let me make one brief comment. and that is the thing for mr. a lot of the things we are talking about is going to take time, five, 10, 15 years. we don't have the luxury of time that we need to get moving on energy independence right now. thank you very much. he met the gentleman yield back. how could i not agree? you make great points. its economic security, national security. they are all intertwined. so with that, i yield five minutes to the gentleman of missouri, mr. clay. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on the first welcome mr. davis back in mr. orton certainly looks good in this freshly painted hearing room. let me start my question with
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mr. dodaro. thank you for your testimony and recommendations on ways we can make the federal government more efficient to save taxpayer dollars. i would like to focus on the earth in defense. i am concerned about dod's pattern of negative appearances in gao report. as we continue to increase dod budget, the agency continues to be plagued by an efficient tea, duplicative programs, waste and in some cases fraud. in your report, you identified dod's military health system is an area of concern for duplication and redundancy. the reports state that the dod military health system has no central command authority or single entity accountable for minimizing cost in achieving
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efficiency. and that's very troubling, given its mission. can you share with the committee the annual cost of dod military health system and what are the project could cost increases through 2015? >> it's about $50 billion. >> 50 billion for the health care. rate. we point out in the report to the health care cost the dod, just like they are in other parts of our economy growing. in the area that we mentioned in terms of the military health care command is something that's been studied by the science board and others, recommendations within dod to do it and they pursued a strategy that has minimal changes involved. and we think if they pursue a broader strategy, it would be very important. also in the health care area,
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congressmen, the cost of prescription drugs is fast growing part in component of health care. we think it could yield some benefits by leveraging their purchasing and they've agreed to start revisiting that issue. >> thank you for that response. and what impact do you think the systems redundancy and command structure issues have on those costs? >> the estimates that were made at the time, savings can be achieved between 250 million over $400 million a year, depending on the nature of the consolidation. >> okay, so that was kind of hope saved the taxpayer if they took the recommendations that implemented them. >> that's correct. >> right now they are pretty much ignoring them. we might is made a minimal
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changes in that regard, but we think they could do more. >> okay, me and you have recommended alternative concepts that have been on the table for a while in addition to your report. the naval analysis did one in 2006. you also report the dod officials generally agree with the facts and findings that with rising costs in the billions, with dod's health system and clear and efficiency, that you think dod is doing enough right now to make improvement. >> i think they could ignore as we pointed out in her report. and we encourage them to do so. we'll continue to do studies, basically outlining some of the options would be for a single military command is an option. there are other options that
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could be pursued, but this is a case where there is a cultural stove piping that the services and their new to be some broader leadership brought to bear. i think it is warranted given the fast rising health care costs. >> thank you for that response. mr. davis, going back to the inefficient energy policy and one argument we hear is that eliminating subsidies will cost jobs. i note that from 05209, top five oil companies have reduced the u.s. workforce by more than 10,000. would have been if we shifted these subsidies to win or other to mr., would not spur job creation in this country? >> i'm just not an expert on these areas. we let the marketplace instead of the centers. we start to incentivize when
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none of these other areas have an effect not just in job creation, but reposition us for the future in the global economy. >> i think gentleman. before i recognize dr. kosar, we've had a request from two members to had to leave today that there be unanimous and for the general to revise and extend your report. i understand there's additional detail is then requested figure people said they could give the supplemental for this report. is that amenable to you that with the record open for you to supplement with any additional details, for example, agencies, naming them, those sort of things? we realize that's not easily put together in one day. >> i'm sorry. >> dr. kosar is recognized for five minutes. >> mr. davis, and currently cosponsoring resolution x 06, which establishes a bipartisan,
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presidentially appointed sunset commission identifies field programs and those that achieving their goals to review them and subject them for termination. i suspect the commission would refuse this committee's work. with your experience, what are your thoughts on this at the legislation were enacted into law? >> if i were in congress, a cosponsor. that's a good place to start. for the things you have to members to remember is if you start talking about programs that don't work, their are a lot of interest groups out there that we don't care about efficient the time they push members and they have theirs in this or the time it's over. that's great whether gao or commission that can call the ball strikes. then it gets harder for somebody to defend some of the subsidies and programs that may not. i think it's a wonderful idea and another starting point on this. the only point i would make assault is, the sustainability is keeping the momentum going. it's easier to make government work more efficiently and take
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off to cut programs. and that's where focusing to be. >> ms. alexander, which you see that taxpayers could get behind? >> we've reported different forms in the past is something we look at the resolution and certainly we're open to idea. >> mr. dodaro, you mentioned real property owned and maintained by the government that are unnecessary and not being used. in your view, what is the best method to get the agencies to private property is sold to the private sector? what our next steps to make this happen? >> we have recommended a would be chair with a real property counsel at this point in time. i think congress should require regular report on a quarterly basis from a wimpy about what the plans are to dispose of property. right now there are over 45,000 buildings underutilized. but it's grown over the past year by 1800 buildings.
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the cost to maintain underutilized properties is up $1.6 billion a year. so i think there needs to be a plan. the administration has goals to try to dispose of property by the end of 2012, but it ain't part of congress' responsibility is to hold them accountable for what progress they are making towards achieving those goals. >> thank you very much. i get the balance my time. >> would the gentleman yield? thank you. mr. dodaro, have you looked at some of the excess property in sufficient details to look at things. for example, said moffett field and we discovered that not that was utilizing the relatively small portion of its profitability and the minimum amount of it for non-core business that was important to the community.
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have a look at those things and whether or not agencies hold them and that is not technically underutilized, but being utilized. did you look at any of those sort of items? >> i'd have to go back and i'll provide you an answer for the record, mr. chairman i'm not. the one additional one is you talk in terms of the other side was asking questions and i think this. eyeful. you are almost saying we needed a second goldwater, that we need to go further merging the command structures of the military from the standpoint of spending. is that pretty much of the sustained part of your report? >> i think there needs to be some outside intervention in order to break some of the stovepipes that the movie. >> chairman davis, you've certainly seen this then you are here for the process. would you say that's one of the things the committee should look
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at us learned when they no longer belong to the military, yet they are still costing the taxpayers? >> the mckinney act was passed to think with the greatest of intentions, but at the end of the day i think the priority has shifted from how do we use this to happen we put this back on the taxco and hungry get money back for the federal government? for borrowing 40 cents on the dollar. it's not attainable. we have to start looking at cost. i agree. >> thank you your one last question to follow up is you've been very supportive. i remember your organization and several others were supported about us that the course of the ability to make the decision that the unfortunately named behemoth the oil leases that were flawed. and i know we agree to disagree on whether or not mr. markey states will be held
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constitutional, whether it is punitive, but more probably, have you looked at what can be gained by congress taking all of the dairy subsidies, oil is being one of them, and other energy subsidies and requiring them to be brought together, something that follows we been talking about today. >> we haven't specifically looked at how to package all of the energy subsidies together. we tend to look at individual subsidies, but we recommend energy policy and look at whether or not each dollar is going towards a common goal. it is something we be happy to work with the committee on. we've looked at energy subsidies and they try to look at them together, but we understand the difficulty of looking at the mall side-by-side. we certainly don't think that we have apples to apples comparison coming out of the administration asked congress would like.
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>> i look forward to working together. i recognize the gentlelady from new york for five minutes. >> first i would like to welcome my former colleague, tom davis who did an extraordinary job was chairman of the committee. he was always a good fighter for the part of the cause, but also reasonable and listen to the minority in work together on a not good bills. it's good to see you. we miss you, tom. welcome back. i want to thank mr. dodaro for your report. it's very helpful and the chairman for focusing on it because this is a time when he to look at ways to protect taxpayers dollars and start reducing the deficit and debt. ..
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may have withheld 117 million in uncollected or royalties. that is a staggering amount, and your report indicates one reason this may be happening is because we rely on oil companies to self report. >> there needs to be more verification by the interior department of the data to make sure that the federal government is getting -- reasonable assurance they're getting the revenues that are there and so there is a set schedule with the
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department was behind in maintaining that schedule. why in the world don't we have the royalties reported by the agency or at least a third party? why in the world are we relying on the oil and gas industry that isn't reporting accurately according to your own study after study after study? >> our recommendation is there is more verification that needs to be done by them. >> you're still letting the companies verify, correct? >> no. interior needs to verify. >> having sold reported information can work if it is verification by the department of the checks and balances rather than go out and have people independently measuring it, so it can work, but the department has to do their part to protect the taxpayers and that's what you're saying and we said in our recommendations.
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>> also in the recommendation your report proposes the federal government use independent third-party data to assurances accurately paid. it's to have interior do a job fair fighting. islamic interior needs to do better job of verifying if the can use their own verification they can use other third-party to cooperate as well. that's what we did in our audits and verifications. you should use everything available to a watergate data to make sure that reporting is complete as possible and we're getting the revenue that we deserve. >> how do you estimate we would able to keep them if they verify inappropriate way? >> we don't have an estimate right now. >> why is it taking so long? are they fair fighting in a better way? have a stake in to be taken the steps to respond to the recommendations? >> we are going to be following up and staying on this and will provide regular reports to this
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committee. >> you think it's important maybe we need to legislate that they verify cracks to make sure it happens? what do we do to make sure this happens? >> i think i would explain what they're doing and the importance of doing it. i think the regular oversight is important. we have done work and the inspector inspector general has done work. we continue doing our part and so i think that it's good to have sustained follow-up with of the department that responsible for handling these matters. >> i regret there was an amendment i offered in another committee and the debate went on just until now so i missed a great deal of your testimony and the 21 seconds left i would like to ask you in your report with other area in government can we manage better and save funds? obviously the oil and gas has historically been an area of tremendous abuse on the oil extracted from federal the owned
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land but what other category in government do you think if we manage it better we would be given to save taxpayer dollars and make up a dent in the terrible deficit we have? >> i think the report discusses opportunities virtually across government. the department of defense is an opportunity there i think for significant savings. and i also mentioned the need to focus on the revenue collection and away we are not cutting we're actually getting more that we are owed from the revenue standpoint beyond the interior issue i think the irs can and should implement a number of our recommendations to take that area on. i think we also recommended the tax expenditures be brought under regular review. that's almost as much a discretionary spending in a year in revenue forgone so i think all of those are really good opportunities to be able to save money and be more efficient.
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deficits have to go beyond just these programs and to entitlement spending as well. >> my time is expired. thank you. >> i thank the gentlelady. mr. davis? >> mr. kysa asked a question where he talked about something similar. there's a lot of savings between agencies where they can start sharing services and i know that they diluted that in the report it wasn't just the focus of this report, but agencies can share services. right now it's very stovepiped in terms of the way they look at it and our budget and they are reluctant to do that, but they literally, billions of dollars probably tens of billions they could share services between agencies as we talk about the best illustration being medical records between the va and the dod is no reason to separate lists the that is the kind of thing the collaboration between the agencies it's not really existing now that could save a lot. >> i thank the gentleman and
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enclosing for the gentlelady's edification, too, because i think the mr. dodaro did a very well in claiming something to us. this third-party data we want to explore further with the gao, the idea when an oil company takes over oil they put it on to a tanker that weighed and measured and the offload it and its metered. this is third-party data that if we gathered it all it would be impossible not to see any discrepancies between what is reported and so on and this is early hear what they said about the irs. the fact is if somebody says i don't have any money and yet you see credit card receipts saying you're spending money, if that data is compared in the internal revenue service the third-party corroboration, remember the irs voluntarily reported too some people don't quite report accurately as they discovered when people were saying what they lost in louisiana didn't match anything that the ever
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declared so i look for to working with the gentle lady on that and in closing, particularly for mr. dodaro, our intention of the committees to have you back on the roughly quarterly basis. i hope that either you or designated representative would be able to do that so we can continue this dialogue in a way to stay on top of what you're doing and of course on what the administration is agreeing to do. additionally, i want to again, repeat for the record that the commitment to go after a number of areas you covered here today including natural gas and oil and constitutional ways to keep from losing the money that we are losing and particularly we are going to have the new agency, the ocean energy management, the old mms. we intend to have them back and out of deference to the organization that was announced by interior we are trying to get a reasonable amount of time, but we are going to have them in specifically as we did when
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chairman davis had them in repeatedly. so i want to thank the witnesses today and i would like to have you all back i suspect because of your expertise we will have you back and the committee stands adjourned. >> sorry, and unanimous consent that your statement and all statements may be placed into the record for of to seven legislative days and all of you by unanimous consent may revise that same period of time. we stand adjourned. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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front line club a discussion on the protests in the middle east.
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now journalist and political analysts said the frontline mac club in london discuss the recent uprisings in libya, egypt and other countries in the middle east. they talk about the west relationship with libya, foreign media coverage of the anti-government protest and the role of the son of the libyan leader marra gaddafi. panelists include former british ambassador to libya and former leader of the group. this event is about 90 minutes.a >> thank you very much.
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regular at the front line club
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case you d
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overwhelmed by then.
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islam radical islam and so on
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>> the expert at the time was a model for many countries as well. i engaged with the prospect with other aspects having to do with libya. now we are back to square one. because of the war situation, and leap year.
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i don't know how it's going to end up. i'm sure it's not going to be a happy end. now i'm working with the foundation, it's a think tank in london as an analyst. thank you. >> you just got back from libya is few days go? >> yeah, i backtracked nine days ago. >> thank you. >> i'm richard, i was british ambassador in libya from 1999 to 2002. i must the civil servant here, because i'm the only person wearing a tie. [laughter] >> after that i went to tehran. i've been safety fellow in the middle east program chatham house for the last three years. libya is posed between at least four possible scenarios. and you are a brave person if you are prepared now to choose which. i don't exclude a happy ending
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in the sense of a pluralist libya that moves towards the kinds of standards we would all wish it's people to enjoy. but i fear, like so many others, that the way there is going to be there dreadfully hard. i think the scenarios that the libyan fighting continues, in affect a stalemate, squirmishes here and there. nobody able to get a handle on the other. secondly, gadhafi's support continues to crumble. once the barrier of fear is removed, a sufficiently large number of people get out in the street as has happened in egypt and elsewhere to actually, seriously affect the calculations and the call --
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capitol of tripoli and the people loyal to gadhafi. i think the third is a internal in which those close to gadhafi is their best hope of surviving and having a future is in -- to move aside the most damaging element, namely the gadhafi family. and the fourth scenario is deepening disorder and civil breakdown. so that's as far as i can get. as of today, the situation is changing from day to day. >> i think it's fair to say this is the particularly ominous days. we look back at two weeks of protest. there really was a sense of being in a military phase with the sense being taken and retaken. i just wonder before we opened questions, i could ask you instinctively, if you feel this is the end for colonel gadhafi.
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davis? >> i hope it's the end for colonel gadhafi. i think there's two scenarios. we can discuss that. one the country is by foe indicated, the stalemate that you suggested, where each side bloodies the other from time to time. the other is a leakage of the power which leads to rupture. different days suggest different things about these two scenarios. my own view is if the west acting responsibly, and we define the use for the armies, and we spend billions and hundreds of billions by creating the perhaps no-fly zone and knocking out his arms ammunition dumps and military equipment, then that could be a stimulus to the weakening of the regime. i think there are options here. and there is responsibility now in europe and elsewhere to hasten the end of this brutal
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mission. >> do you feel an instinct it's the end? >> yeah, i'm starting to believe this is the end for colonel gadhafi. for me, it's not like the end, it's when. he's the most important question. because it's not now, a couple of weeks ago i was certain he was going to last for a long time. we need to start to think about months, you know, at least. talking about days or weeks or something. i think it's unrealistic. because he managed successfully and deliberately to come from a peaceful regime to be a war situation. he was very successful in this tactics. and i'd like to emphasize here, he is successfully as well, immediately switched from the mood of the leader as like a king or president, whatever you are going to label him, to be a warfare leader. and it's were dangerous.
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the mood now, he's operating. >> he's very comfortable in that roll. >> he's very comfortable. he was ready for this. we should focus as well. because it's war, you know, we can't talk about just the people protesting outside in the streets. just if you see or if you followed the protest, you know? since it starts in february until today, every day you will see the scene being militarized, increasing of the militarization of the situation, and people liberating his own cities. everybody starts to have the own guns. there's a lot of guns out there. this situation, i believe, it will help colonel gadhafi's force to remain for, i think, a long time. and then from there he will hope to start to negotiate with the west. not with his own people to secure something. >> does that mean you actually, you know, compared to a couple
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of days ago, his position is stronger than it was. colonel gadhafi's own position? >> i'm not prepared to say that. i would also like to take some of the emphasis away from the west. united nations is an awful lot more than the west. and the west doesn't always act. and above all it does not have the kind of unity of view on a huge and inaccurate generalization. arabs should not be invisible in the way he suggests as seen from my side of the fence. i can see how you would appreciate that differently from your side. >> i do warn against west intervention. it seems like interventions in iraq and somalia and afghanistan. i don't think it bodes well. i don't think an intervention in libya will help. i this will it end up escalating
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the situation. core as the afghanis andy as iraqi of resisting the presence of americans there. having said that, i don't think the way back is the way forward in libya. certainly, gadhafi is on his way out. whether they are going to give him a safe passage to join his friend remains to be scene. i think he insists on staying and fighting it out. the army is breaking away from him. that's the good news. the tribes are breaking away from him. that's even better news. his diplomats are breaking away from him. that's the third good news. >> that's the easiest. for those outside libya, that's the easiest break to make. >> actually, even, internally, the minister has left and so on and so force. he has a legitimacy, tribal army, and civilian leaders of some sort. and they've all -- or are they leaving him slowly but surely.
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what is left with him are the militias, the militias, he and his sons have armed. but i don't think they have a future in libya. >> thank you very much. if you could raise your hands if you have a question. could we get the microphones to the back of the room there? just while the mike comes, please say who you are. this is live on the frontline web site and filmed by c-span. and if you are tweeting about it, then it has frontline clout. so your name. >> mr. christian, i work with plan international a humanitarian agency. what's your take on the humanitarian fallout? >> could you hold the microphone closer? >> yeah, what's the humanitarian fallout of the violence, if there's a fallout if sanctions are put in place? please remember in iraq, in december 50,000 children died during the sanction period while it was put in place. your take on both. followed from the violence, as
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for the sanctions. >> thank you. >> who'd like to start up? what is your fear of what the humanitarian impact would be for the sanks -- sanctions or indeed just ongoing violence? >> honestly, i don't think it's anyone like to advocate for like sanctions affecting the people. no, i don't think. now all of the debate, it's about like no-fly zone. it's still the issue itself that's highly debatable because it's not just you are going to ask gadhafi kindly, would you mind don't fly your make, you know? it's not like this. you need to launch attacks. the situation is highly debatable. i would like to add something. what's they reach gadhafi is false, it's something like 15 or 20% are domestic.
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the air force capacity. because since the problems start, one the major european countries, they would draw all of their technical stuff. one the major like airplanes. and they have started -- they are still struggling with others like even the russians make. they have a lot of problems in terms of technical stuff. it's the idea of no-fly zone, maybe it will clear, and help the libyans, but i know it's like a conflict like this start everybody to be like national -- international conflict. maybe it will send like just a clear signal to colonel gadhafi to make -- for him to behave. but just regarding the humanitarian issue, i think it was planned a couple of weeks ago, there's a huge lack of food supply, especially in the eastern part of the country and western cities as well. i believe it was planned, you know? to create a war situation obvious a civil war situation.
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and now a lot of countries, include qatar, and they are involved in food. the libyans, we've never been in this situation. usually, we used to see it in the news. now libya themselves starts to be a recipient of aid and medicine. it's painful. myself, i can't feel it. i think this is the situation. st libyans are in need for the national aid, unfortunately to say that. >> richard, are you in favor of the no-fly zone? >> under certain conditions, first it has to have legitimacy. you could get legitimacy from a united nations security council resolution, or if that was not going to pass, you could as in other humanitarian
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interventions, obtain legitimacy through regional consultation, and through the receipt or there wouldn't be anything formal of a sense or a request that the libyans under pressure inside libya want intervention. >> but it cannot be a british-american effort? that would be wrong? >> it would make much more sense if it was a spanish-italian effort. they are in the front line of this issue. it's their world supplies, for example, that's at the greatest risk. it's their immigration problem rather more than the uk. maybe the u.s. and uk would play a part. i think people who advocate armed humanitarian intervention need to think quite widely about the kind of coalition that would be put together. >> yes, you had a question in the back. >> i'm maria, i'm a postgraduate student at the african studies.
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i've been very much following what's been happening in the past month, being from the middle east myself as well, and of course, it's very interesting. and my question is on something that i've been thinking about is the definition of how al-jazeera is defining the professionalism, so to say. the western ethics of journalism, and i put western between two quotations. i wanted to know your upon about how al-jazeera is kind of playing with the idea of distance, the emotional distance. it's not like any other channel. when you watch specific, you can use egypt and libya and tunisia, and i you feel like you are part of the news. al-jazeera has redefined the concept of coverage in the last events. and the other question is what do you think about the exclusion of the al-jazeera to the
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exclusion that gadhafi gave to abc, and nbc, i think. >> abc, bbc. thank you. my bosses maybe watching this. >> i'm not going to take too long just because the subject matter is libya. i don't want to think i'm promoting al-jazeera and promoting or defending it. we did pride ourselves for a long time of being a voice of the south, and the voice of the people. we have an hour program that people phone in and speak endlessly in the morning and so forth. has it been an emotional moment? of course. imagine this was the french television after the second world war, or the british television after the second world war. this is probably the biggest moment in recent history in this region. imagine someone like gadhafi for
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40 some years. the generation of libyans have lived under him. for young journalist, and young people in the arab world were for a young channel like al-jazeera, having it all, or living and being in the midst of all of this, of course, it's something. but did they keep a certain distance? yes, i think they did. in a sense, until today, leaders of the world would become al-jazeera. before it all started, as many of you might know, we were banned in kuwait, we were banned in morocco, we had a big fallout in egypt, and now we are banned in libya. this is, of course, a certificate of good behavior. when urbanned from dictators, you must be doing the right thing. >> the final bit was about the exclusion of al-jazeera. i mean that was -- none of us know the inner workings of
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colonel gadhafi's mind. the fact that al-jazeera was already banned precluded that. >> we should have had one libyan official comment on al-jazeera and say we will let you come in only if we start behaving. when asked what they mean by behaving, when they start being good journalist. so you are not giving us certificate of good behavior. they said no, all of the media outlets are good, expect al-jazeera is bad. until you behave, you can't get in. i think they have blamed the disturbances in yemen and israel on al-jazeera. >> thanks. lady over here. then the gentleman there. thank you. >> i'm zoey from the university. when i talk about the west, i'm meaning britain and the states.
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it seems from an arab perspective, and perspective of many in the west that the west relations in the middle east have been defined by self-interest mostly over the past decade. i'm wondering what you think the sort of policy that britain and the states could adopt towards libyan that might redeem this kind of behavior or morally rectify the situation in the middle east. >> you are looking for a single, coherent approach for the region? >> yes. on the part of britain or the states, not necessarily unified. >> david? >> well, i profoundly agree with your question. i mean the relationship between the united states and european's big powers in the middle east has generally been a movement between on the one hand a movement of red carpets to the middle eastern leaders and on the other hand when things go
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wrong, the cardboard box. there's been the shift in coherence on middle east policy. on one hand seeking to pursue political advantage when it suits, and on the other hand, in another point in time, not necessarily a consistent point in time, suddenly saying this is the crucial task. i think the wars in the iraq and afghanistan, of course, have backfired. the war on terror has caused, you know, great damage. not just, of course, to the countries. but the heart of those wars, but to the west of the eyes of the young arab populations. one the things to me that's different in 1989 and the extraordinary arab uprising now was in 1989, the peaceful movements had a common purpose and common goal. which was to embrace the west. they wanted western democracies. they wanted higher standards. they wanted markets. the image of the west now in the extraordinary arab spring as it
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is being called is much more tainted. it's been tainted exactly for the reasons that you've said. >> do you want similar things to what was wanted in eastern europe? perhaps it's not -- perhaps not overall articulated as clearly and not as organized. >> the point that i'm -- the only point i'm trying, yes, absolutely, i agree with you. however, because the war on terror had such negative consequences for the reception of the west, i think it's made the political demands that are emerging from young people and other groups a more mixed and their direction is not always entirely clear. whereas, gadhafi's incredible and remarkable movements to bring down the regime is one thing. to turn those on democracies is another. which is another important question. what can the west do now? the one thing the west can do is to respect the determination of
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their peoples, listen to their voice, engage more in dialogue, and if and when they intervene and wish to support the arab movements, they build up the infrastructure of the autonomy of the movements, and determination rather than in other words bottom up politics rather than deals in the old style to suit interest of the level of autocratic states. >> bridget, obviously, you know what's it's like to be part in the region. would you accept that mistakes have been made? it hadn't been made a coherent approach or consistent. >> if mistakes have been made, they have been supposed by the democratic system of the united kingdom. the point that i'd like to start, yes, states act in accordance of their self-interest. that's international policy 101. you wouldn't expect egypt, or brazil, or the united kingdom to behave differently. second, british people have a right to jobs. british people have a right to
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the attempt to influence on human rights in their democratic value. british people have a right to security. so when you frame as a foreign policy person, the objective is for your foreign policy, you frame it in accordance with that which the british people want and express through the parliamentary representatives and in turn through the selection of their governments. this is always been the case. it was in the case when we were working with the soviet union to sell things to the soviet union. to export our culture to the soviet union, to discuss the future of the region through the conference and security and cooperation in europe. engagement differs from region to region and country to country. but those principals are eternal. now the next point to emphasize is that if you are trying to achieve certain objectives like security and like jobs, you can't expect to be able to
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insult and demean and oppose the government you are working with in other matters. and inevitably, when the foreign country wants to work with us, we at the uk set the term. the same is true for international relations when you want to achieve your objectives with another country. so what you try to do is maintain a balance so that you advance on a broad front. now the instruments that we chose to assist in the extension of civil and political and human rights to arab people while at the same time trying to pursue a national interest of the british people was one, the action programs under the european neighborhood policy study very carefully the conditionality on the extension of the trade privileges and the european union in those agreements, the dialogue on agreements and human rights. and secondly, bilateral program
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of the a civil society. >> let's make it specific to libya. at the time that you were the british ambassador in tripoli, which is the same time that tony blair's government was carrying out. did you have doubts that we are making all of the advances in the relationship with libya, but this is still an absolute regime, it is still a police state, there's not going to be an election here or anything close to an election? >> yes, indeed. as did my colleague and ambassador in moscow as he watched the deterioration of public life in moscow. clearly there are degrees to these things. i'm not trying to say all international villains. the consensus in our country about the advancements of people's interest and national interest you have to accept that you can't pick and choose your partners and you can't force them to change so they fit into our mold. >> you wanted to say something
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on that? then back to you sir, and the question over there. >> i just came back from washington this morning. and i -- throughout our discussions about libya, i always -- i tried to distinguish between washington and the rest of america. i think there's rules between london and the rest of the uk. i mean by london, the politics and the special interest, and the lobbying and so on and so forth. the arms lobbies and oil lob business. no, i think it's a cop out, mr. ambassador, we were for national interest and that's it. that's not how democracy functions. democracy has values and positions. they don't want to deal with someone that's oppressing his people and killing his people for the last 40 years. >> the point that you were making is the british people didn't rise up in the streets. >> the british people didn't know how tony blair was sitting in a tent making deals in the
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dark with colonel gadhafi about what's next. the contracts to be given to the uk, just like america and other cynics, french and so forth. i don't mean the french as the french people, i mean paris. as a human being and citizen, what is the government? why does the bbc exist and other media outlet? to put you folks in power your view with the principals and values. sometimes you don't. most of the times you don't. it's a cop out. you need some serious soul searching on the question for libya. this was a regime. you did business with them. knowing what they were doing. i think we need to do this. [applause] [applause] >> i think you know what's going on now with libya and i think in egypt and tunisia and the rest of the middle east. myself and, i believe everybody
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that i spoke with, they believe it's undermining the arabs themselves as countries or as ethnic group or whatever you are going to classify them to talk about their destiny within the context, okay, the opinion of the uk or washington. or even the west. i think this approach, it's a completely wrong. and i believe all of the arabs, including myself, we don't like to discuss the issues from this approach or perspective. i am starts to believe i cannot claim the uk or any other european country about why i don't have a democratic system in my country like libya or any other arab country. it's because i believe they can't create it themselves. but if you start yourself, and here's what's going on now, the people when they are fed up and they go out on the streets, i'm always good it's 100%
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transparent referendum. this is what the people want. not al qaeda, not a political group. this is the people of the middle east, one country after another they are protesting outside the streets. and they start to ask for democracy, a political system, so what's the role here for the west? because they start to see what's going on there. what the people they want. here's what the libyans, they want. i think, yes. many western countries, they can help what the libyans they want. so they can help them, they can support them to justify, or really to make us believe, yeah, this country, or these societies, they stand for the democratic values they believe in. this is, i think, the most important thing. but practically to be honest with you, i know exactly how these things works, you know. i think maybe because myself i'm not academic. i'm very practical person, you know. i spent like 25 years of my life very practical.
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[laughter] >> academics can be practical too. >> no, i am very practical. >> okay. [laughter] >> so, you know, everyone -- no one can just go appear in front of people and start to talk about very sensitive issues. i would like to make it clear like this. what's going on now in the middle east, i think, creates one heck of a vacuum. excuse me my language. in many western capitols. why? because they start to see other leaders, they have no profile for them. other likes, i will say groups, not political parties, they aren the ground and reclaiming the states which they used to do business with. we don't need to fool ourselves. there's no country on earth that can just accept this and okay we'd like to help you to establish your democratic system and we will support you in terms of human rights or whatever. it doesn't work like this. believe me, it doesn't work like
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this. first of all, it's always what's for me on the table? if there's any other foreign country, why should i help you? why should i take the risk? especially in this time. this is what i'm trying to say. i think it's a very critical moment, but i still believe it's a very good opportunity. >> but it's an opportunity for the libyans. >> and the libyans, and libya it's very sensitive area. you know why? i'm going to explain the situation maybe later on if there's other questions. but just the area there, it's part of europe. because this is the southern part of the mediterranean. >> thank you, noman. i'm good to take the question. out to you. >> is there any possibility that the toppling of saddam and creation of democratic iraq has actually positively contributed to these series of revolutions in perhaps even libya? >> who'd like to start? >> that was a good question, by
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the way. >> i wonder how many people are viewing intervention in iraq differently. >> i actually think what's happening today happened despite, not thanks to. meaning, we were passing sort of around november of last year, i think the darkest moment in our region. most of it part of the domino affect from the war in iraq. i've never seen the region so divided, so burdened with tension with some bitter violence. i remember that i listed nine cases for al-jazeera in preparing what i call the hot winter coming up in the memo. but the use of the arab world surprised us, being far more mature than all of the rest. what they have done, they have raised two issues. one is: democracy is possible out tanks and airplanes and invasions and death of 1 million
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iraqis in one form or the other. democracy is possible because democracy is the business of the people, by the people, and for the people. not on the back of a tank. i think that was the message that we don't want to go iraq's way. there was an alternative. how it's happening, it's a work in process. in egypt, tunisia, and morocco and so forth, it's a start with comparison on what has happened and what is happening in iraq and iran. i think the arabs have proven that george bush was wrong. you could create a situation peacefully almost where freedom, the arabs by the way don't like to call it a democracy in the liberal sense today. they call it justice. freedom and justice is possible today without more tanks. >> david, then to you. >> yeah, i think a few historical examples of
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successful creates of democracies from above. look at the examples that we have, after the second world war, the reconstruction of germany and japan. these were total wars on the conditions of total defeat. in the age of post em -- imperial empires, they do not bow down. the most extraordinary and bizarre statement ever made in contemporary was rumsfeld shock and awe. we had shock people and from that they will bow down and consent. what makes the new arab revolutions difference -- different is these were from below. with the international or national conditions. here you had the extraordinary pressure on local economies and arab economies, rising commodity
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prices, rising food prices, which impacted directly on the dire and stance of living. at the same time, you have a hugely young population wired together more than before with rising expectations. an educational system that works and turned out educated people and educated people driving buses. nothing wrong with driving buses, but finding the roles and occupations lower than the expectations that they have. this produces the blow. that seems to be historicically creates greater conditions for the democracy than anything that the britain or america were trying to do in iraq. >> does the end result and the process to get there? >> i think if you go to iraq and in the process kills tens of thousands of people and displace hundreds of thousands more, and turn the authortarian regime
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into a failed state, you cannot claim much achievement for yourself and you should be judged by those promises. >> richard? >> i agree completely with manwar, and david. i would only add that i think one useful way of looking at what's happening in the arab countries is to look at the social contract. this helps one to explain why some countries are rather slower to catch on to what's happening than others. in saudi arabia, the social contract is still much stronger. it's got religion, it's got deference, it has a popular king, and cemented together with a lot of cash. where you see the countries that have burst into flame most quickly, it's where the social contract is weakest. jordan, it's stronger. the big mystery is syria. if anyone can speak to us about syria, that would be helpful.
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>> just talking on the subject of cash. because it has been to be very in sync to see how much. is there a point where however much money you spend, and clearly saudi arabia has a lot of money to spend in this department, it will not be enough? >> absolutely. this is not about money anywhere. it's about grievance. and some of the grievances are about money. the tunisia revolution, i believe, was fundamental revolution. it was discussed and that gives me the opportunity to say that i think one the remarkable things is how little ideology there are in the revolution, and how much raw emotion. that's where the international satellite television broadcasting element comes in, led by al-jazeera, a lot of others because people in the region channel hop. it's about bringing into your
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living room, the family discussion and the sense of shame you get if you are suffering under the same condition and haven't done anything about it. so that's so much more important in galvanizing people than the twitter aspect or the social networking aspect which is about communication. once something has gotten going. >> thank you. i'm sorry. you've been waiting far long time. >> craig with international. we've seen the middle east that the change has been driven by young people. why do you think the young people in the west and across the world can do to support the positive change that we're seeing and hopefully move international relations to a more positive future? >> okay. can young people in the west, noman, do you think, support the positive changes that we're seeing what the use of the arab world are starting to voice? >> from a very practical, very practical -- >> yeah. >> that's why it is -- i think
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-- the way i understand it, it's like we have two levels here. like international governmental help which is more effective, way more effective. and none government held. so we talk about in the west, i think it would be part of this like a government efforts to help what's going on in the middle east. now like the work of the ngos or social movements, or whatever. but practically, as well, i can't see it honestly. you know, now they can deliver unless they can help to either to push for like certain policies to be taken by their own governments. with every possible like means and tools available for them. including like going outside protesting outside in the streets without causing any damage. but it's -- the only thing. but practically, i think it's still in the middle east the work of the government rather
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than government politics. or the groups or ngos or whatever. >> by the way, just for your information, i think -- they will be helping in a very, very interesting way. >> the tunisians and egyptians weren't able to break the fire wall imposed by the government, but by the help of the young serbs, young bulgarians, i think also a bench of french-americans, a lot of what was going on in the social network, sometimes when they created the tweeting, a lot of young people were actually involved over the last several weeks already. not only in solidarity and the universities and other places, but actually in, you know, if bloggers -- if bloggers and -- if bloggers and the new insurgents seconded the use around the world and have joined the arabs


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